Trump's proposed continued relationship with 'Apprentice' conundrum for NBC, Comcast

Tom Paine

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Kellyanne Conway on Friday defended President-elect Donald Trump's decision to remain an executive producer on NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice" as he takes office, saying that "presidents have a right to do things in their spare time."

On the next day, however, Trump spun it a bit differently on his favorite media outlet:

Trump’s fees will be paid through MGM, the production entity on the show, not NBC, the network that will air it.

Arnold Schwarzenegger will be the new host of 'Apprentice', which returns after a two-year hiatus.

Mark Burnett, now president of MGM Television and Digital Group (in 2014 he sold a 55% interest in his production companies to MGM) and still one of the show's executive producers, created 'Apprentice', which first aired in 2004, with the idea of finding a new host CEO each year. But Trump proved a hit so he stayed.

Though Variety reported that Trump will receive a per show fee (not huge by TV standards), the true potential conflict NBC (and Comcast) may face is if any topics or themes come up on the show that may be of a political nature, as well as NBC possibly enhancing the franchise's long-term value by airing it.

This doesn't seem, on the surface at least, to be an indicator of how Trump's relationship with Comcast will go, though Comcast certainly knows the value of having some positive aspects of its relationship with the President-elect, who has continued to criticize NBC News and SNL roundly.

Maybe he's just trying to show he doesn't play favorites?

But I'm not sure we've heard the last on this situation. There may be changes.

Update 3/4: Arnold Schwarzenegger Bails on 'Celebrity Apprentice,' Citing Show's "Baggage" (Hollywood Reporter)

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